Medical Benefits of a Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty Health Benefits
A tummy tuck is a common cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and fat from your tummy region. It also offers many medical benefits. Some of these include improving posture and reducing back pain. A tummy tuck can ease the stress placed on weak muscles by carrying extra weight around one’s abdomen.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck helps to tighten up the muscles and remove excess skin in your abdomen. There are two main tummy tuck procedures. A Full Tummy Tuck tightens the muscles and a Mini-Tummy Tuck removes protruding skin. Both procedures can improve body tone for patients who have lost weight or had children.
A good candidate for tummy tuck surgery is someone who is healthy and at a stable weight. They may have mild sagging of abdominal skin or severe sagging skin. Regardless of the extent of the sagging, there are many benefits of abdominoplasty.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide
Learn more about Tummy Tuck surgery in our detailed procedure guide:
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What Causes Excess Abdominal Fat and a Bulging Belly?
Belly fat or loose skin happens for many reasons. It could be from drinking alcohol, genetics, being sedentary or eating unhealthy food.
- Alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol can cause weight gain and lead to the accumulation of fat around your stomach .
- Genetics: If you have a family history of obesity, it’s likely that you will gain more belly fat over time .
- Sedentary lifestyle: Physical inactivity can increase your risk of developing belly fat.
- Stress: Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels which leads people to overeat. High-pressure jobs or demanding work can contribute towards more belly fat 
- Unhealthy food selection: Sweet foods like cake triggers cravings and increases appetite. This can lead to increased amounts of belly fat. This is also true for eating a diet high in carbs.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery is not for everyone. Before undergoing the procedure, you will be asked to go through your medical history. Assessing that you’re in good health helps to achieve optimal results and also reduces the risk of complications. In general, you are a good candidate for this procedure if:
- You have realistic expectations about what can be achieved with surgery.
- You understand that tummy tuck carries risks
- Your body mass index is under 30 BMI
- You’re in good health. Heart disease, diabetes, or any serious medical conditions can increase your risk.
- You are a non-smoker. Smoking increases tissue damage and slows down the healing process.
- Sagging skin. You have loose skin on your abdomen resulting from major weight loss or pregnancy.
- Your abdominal fat doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. Liposuction may help this too.
- Women who have finished having children (or are not planning to have any kids).
Pros and Cons of Tummy Tuck Surgery
What are the pros of a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck can help boost your self-confidence as well as improve the quality of your life. It is a way to restore a flatter and firmer stomach, allowing you more freedom in choosing clothing. This procedure also offers permanent results if you maintain a stable weight.
As well as these lifestyle and cosmetic benefits, the abdominoplasty procedure has a range of medical advantages too:
- restore weakened or separated muscles.
- help ease pain.
- improve bladder function.
- reduce itching and skin infections caused by excess skin.
- change the shape and tone of the abdomen to create a firmer and smoother profile.
Medically Proven Health Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
1. Reduce Back Pain
In a study of 214 patients, evidence suggests that a tummy tuck can relieve back pain. Researchers found that tummy tuck surgery led to satisfactory elimination of chronic low-back pain . This is reported in the results section of a research article published in 2011 by Mersmann et al.
2. Hernia Repair
Studies have found that tummy tucks are beneficial for repairing abdominal wall hernias. This study was done on patients who had abdominoplasty combined with repair of a ventral hernia. They experienced an improvement in symptoms and a low rate of hernia recurrence. They also experienced a low rate of complications such as wound opening or infection.
3. Improved Posture
In patients with excess abdominal skin, improvement in posture occurred after 1 year. Researchers concluded that this improvement was due to higher self-confidence and body image.
In women who underwent a cosmetic tummy tuck, improved posture was also noted. Researchers confirmed that this was due to improvements in vertebral column angles.
4. Reduces Urinary Incontinence
Evidence also supports the benefits of tummy tuck on urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. Stress urinary incontinence sui may occur from pregnancy, childbirth, aging, or prior pelvic surgery. According to a study, patients with urinary incontinence had improved symptoms  14 months after a tummy tuck.
Improved bladder control can also improve quality of life, alleviating the worry of accidents.
As well as this, tummy tuck surgery can strengthen or rejoin the abdominal muscles or stomach muscles. This is a condition called diastasis recti. It can be congenital but is most commonly acquired during pregnancies and/or larger weight gain. For more information on this, view our blog How to Tell if Your Abdominal Muscles Were Torn During Pregnancy.
5. Prevents Skin Problems Associated with Sagging Abdominal Skin
Evidence shows that tummy tuck helps prevent skin problems caused by sagging skin. In particular, tummy tuck reduces the incidence of skin problems like intertrigo. This is a condition where there are skin rashes caused by rubbing of sagging skin.
6. Improves Overall Quality of Life
Tummy tuck improves patients lives by improving self-esteem and quality of life.
A study performed found a significant improvement in physical health after abdominoplasty. It also improved mental wellness, measured by life satisfaction scores. Most individuals taking these tests had high numbers indicating good general wellbeing. They scored high on Questions On Life Satisfaction, Rosenberg Self -Esteem Questionnaire, and Freiburg Personality Inventory.
Researchers analysed the quality of life and psychological status in obese patients who underwent an abdominoplasty. They found that they also reported better sexual relations. Another study done on women with eating disorders found abdominoplasty had significant psychological improvements.
What are the Cons of a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery has some great advantages, but what about drawbacks? You should always consider the following before getting abdominoplasty surgery:
- There are potential risks and complications with tummy tuck surgery.
- There is an expected downtime of 3-4 weeks or more. You will need to make arrangements with your work and family commitments.
- This procedure is best suited if you are not planning to get pregnant in the future. Pregnancy can stretch the tummy and compromise your results.
- Weight gain can impact the results of your tummy tuck. You must be able to maintain a healthy weight.
- A tummy tuck cannot prevent the effects of ageing on your tummy region.
- You will have a scar near your bikini line. This usually extends from hip bone to hip bone (depending on the extent of the surgery).
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do the results of a tummy tuck last?
The results of a tummy tuck surgical procedure usually last for several years if you maintain a healthy weight. But, it cannot prevent the effects of ageing on your abdominal region.
How much does tummy tuck surgery cost?
Tummy tuck surgery can cost between $14,000 and $20,000. The price may vary depending on your doctor and their experience with the procedure. For some people, this surgery can be a life-changing event that helps them to feel more confident. Of those who want it done, whether it’s for cosmetic or medical reasons, many find it worth the cost.
How long is tummy tuck recovery?
Tummy tuck recovery requires 3-4 weeks of downtime and rest. Many patients are unable to exercise for 8 weeks after their surgery. You’ll be able to see the final result of your procedure after six months. Scarring will take anywhere from 12-18 months to fade.
Will I have a scar after tummy tuck surgery?
Yes. You will have a scar on or above your bikini line where excess skin and fat was removed. This usually extends from hip bone to hip bone (depending on the extent of the surgery). There are scar treatments available to improve the appearance of these scars. After your surgery, you will receive a complimentary tube of Strataderm silicone gel. Your nurse will advise on how to use this.
Will Medicare help pay for my surgery?
The rules about Medicare funding for tummy tuck surgery often change. Persistent skin rashes, hernia, incontinence or lower back pain may allow a rebate. Always check the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or submit a confidential enquiry form.
Is tummy tuck surgery worth it?
Without a doubt, yes tummy tuck is worth it. It not only boosts your self-confidence but also offers a wide array of medical benefits.
Book Your Initial Consultation
For a confidential consultation with Dr Doyle about tummy tuck surgery, contact us. Dr Doyle always takes the time to create a personalised surgical plan to treat your concerns. If you suffer from any of the medical conditions above, he’d love to chat with you about a solution.
- Traversy G, Chaput JP Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update Curr Obes Rep 2015;4(1):122-130. doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0129-4 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338356/.
- Hewagalamulage SD, Lee TK, Clarke IJ, Henry BA Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity Domest Anim Endocrinol 2016 Jul;56 Suppl:S112-20. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.03.004. Epub 2016 Mar 31. PMID: 27345309. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27345309/.
- Taylor DA, Merten SL, Sandercoe GD, Gahankari D, Ingram SB, Moncrieff NJ, Ho K, Sellars GD, Magnusson MR Abdominoplasty Improves Low Back Pain and Urinary Incontinence Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Mar;141(3):637-645. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004100. PMID: 29481394. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29481394/#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20Abdominoplasty%20with%20rectus%20repair,back%20pain%20and%20urinary%20incontinence.
- Petrakis I, Xenaki S, Andreou A, Panagiotakis G, Chalkiadakis G Therapeutic abdominoplasty: Report of a case Int J Surg Case Rep 2015;8C:96-99. doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2015.01.039. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4353935/.
- Soteropulos CE, Edinger KM, Leibl KE, Siebert JW Improvement in Back Pain Following Abdominoplasty: Results of a 10-Year, Single-Surgeon Series Aesthet Surg J 2020 Nov 19;40(12):1309-1315. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjaa032. PMID: 32003775; PMCID: PMC7676454. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32003775/.
- Robertson JD, de la Torre JI, Gardner PM, Grant JH 3rd, Fix RJ, Vásconez LO Abdominoplasty repair for abdominal wall hernias Ann Plast Surg 2003 Jul;51(1):10-6. doi: 10.1097/01.SAP.0000054240.21252.64. PMID: 12838119. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12838119/.
- Dean RA, Dean JA, Matarasso A. Secondary Abdominoplasty: Management of the Umbilicus after Prior Stalk Transection. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019 Apr;143(4):729e-733e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005415. PMID: 30921121. Retrieved https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30921121/.
- Moreno-Egea A, Campillo-Soto Á, Morales-Cuenca G. Does Abdominoplasty Add Morbidity to Incisional Hernia Repair? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Surg Innov. 2016 Oct;23(5):474-80. doi: 10.1177/1553350616646480. Epub 2016 Apr 28. PMID: 27130646. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27130646/#:~:text=Conclusions%20Postoperative%20in%2Dhospital%20stay,quality%20of%20life%20when%20indicated.
- Mazzocchi M, Dessy LA, Di Ronza S, Iodice P, Saggini R, Scuderi N. A study of postural changes after abdominal rectus plication abdominoplasty. Hernia. 2014 Aug;18(4):473-80. doi: 10.1007/s10029-012-1015-1. Epub 2012 Nov 8. PMID: 23132640. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23132640/.
- Temel M, Türkmen A, Berberoğlu Ö. Improvements in Vertebral-Column Angles and Psychological Metrics After Abdominoplasty With Rectus Plication. Aesthet Surg J. 2016 May;36(5):577-87. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv257. Epub 2016 Jan 12. PMID: 26764262. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26764262/.
- Carruthers KH, Kocak E, Hulsen JH, McMahan JD. Improvement in stress urinary incontinence after abdominoplasty. Aesthet Surg J. 2014 Sep;34(7):1091-8. doi: 10.1177/1090820X14544023. Epub 2014 Jul 29. PMID: 25073582. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25073582/.
- Papadopulos NA, Staffler V, Mirceva V, Henrich G, Papadopoulos ON, Kovacs L, Herschbach P, Machens HG, Biemer E. Does abdominoplasty have a positive influence on quality of life, self-esteem, and emotional stability? Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Jun;129(6):957e-962e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31824ecc2b. PMID: 22634693. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22634693/.
- Lazar CC, Clerc I, Deneuve S, Auquit-Auckbur I, Milliez PY. Abdominoplasty after major weight loss: improvement of quality of life and psychological status. Obes Surg. 2009 Aug;19(8):1170-5. doi: 10.1007/s11695-009-9883-x. Epub 2009 Jun 11. PMID: 19517201. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19517201/.
- Saariniemi KM, Salmi AM, Peltoniemi HH, Helle MH, Charpentier P, Kuokkanen HO. Abdominoplasty improves quality of life, psychological distress, and eating disorder symptoms: a prospective study. Plast Surg Int. 2014;2014:197232. doi: 10.1155/2014/197232. Epub 2014 Nov 24. PMID: 25506426; PMCID: PMC4259081. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25506426/.
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- Finally, Wollina U, Heinig B, Nowak A Treatment of elderly patients with advanced lipedema: a combination of laser-assisted liposuction, medial thigh lift, and lower partial abdominoplastyClin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2014;7:35-42. Published 2014 Jan 23. doi:10.2147/CCID.S56655. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904776/.
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About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon
Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.
Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing Breast, Body, Face and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.
He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.
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